• Law enforcementOptimal policing: When should the police use confrontational tactics?

    Citizens depend on police to provide public safety while maintaining the trust of the community. How can democratic societies balance these two, often conflicting, aims — given citizens’ often divergent views over basic tenets of criminal justice policy? Researchers outline a “formal model of optimal policing” that can be used to resolve tensions between public safety and community trust — and that also can help a public that is prone to privileging one over the other, depending on the circumstances, to keep both in mind.

  • Law enforcementWhy police reforms rarely succeed: Lessons from Latin America

    By Yanilda González

    Americans have mobilized extensively in the past three years against police brutality, militarization, and corruption through the Black Lives Matter and related movements. Government officials at the federal level have responded to these demands by creating specialized task forces to recommend best practices, and investigating troubled police departments and enforcing reforms. Courts have also worked to roll back unconstitutional stop-and-frisk policies, while city governments have created independent oversight agencies and enacted robust community policing programs. But will it stick? My research on police reform in Latin America shows that such reforms are highly vulnerable to political reversals. These cases reveal how they can be quickly rolled back before they can take hold and demonstrate results. Understanding the politics of police reform in Latin America may be informative for those who hope for changes in policing in the U.S.

  • ExtremismGerman right-wing Reichsbürger movement a terror threat: German intelligence

    The German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) have reported that the followers of the right-wing Reichsbürger movement could engage in “extreme violence, including terror acts.” A comprehensive report, compiled by German law enforcement services, concluded that the movement is more dangerous to public safety than other right-wing and nationalist German political movements. The Reichsbürger movement – which is somewhat similar to the U.S. Sovereign Citizen movement – is not considered the most extreme right-wing politically, and its followers are not organized in the traditional sense.

  • GunsGun violence prevention groups adopt moderate, middle-ground positions to meet goals

    A new study found that American organizations identifying as gun violence prevention groups advocate for the right to bear arms and for some gun purchase and ownership conditions, which they argue will curb gun-related injuries and deaths. The finding contrasts with some depictions of gun violence prevention groups as “anti-gun.”

  • Crime & punishmentViolence in news toughens opinions on crime, punishment

    If it bleeds, it leads, as the saying goes: Violence is omnipresent in media, and when consumed through news on a regular basis, it drums up support for continuing the status quo in the criminal justice system. That’s one finding from new research which examined how media consumption and social networks influence anxiety about crime and opinions about the justice system.

  • CrimePsychopathic brains’ wiring leads to dangerous and violent actions

    Researchers have found that psychopaths’ brains are wired in a way that leads them to over-value immediate rewards and neglect the future consequences of potentially dangerous or immoral actions. Psychopaths “are not aliens, they’re people who make bad decisions,” one researchers said. “The same kind of short-sighted, impulsive decision-making that we see in psychopathic individuals has also been noted in compulsive over-eaters and substance abusers.” Psychopaths are “exactly what you would expect from humans who have this particular kind of brain wiring dysfunction.”

  • Lead & crimeDecrease in lead exposure in early childhood likely responsible for drop in crime rate

    Exposure to lead in the preschool years significantly increases the chance that children will be suspended or incarcerated during their school careers, according to new research. Conversely, a drop in exposure leads to less antisocial behavior and thus may well be a significant factor behind the drop in crime over the past few decades.

  • Immigration & crimeImmigration does not raise crime: Studies

    Immigration has no effect on crime, according to a comprehensive examination of fifty-one studies on the topic published between 1994 and 2014. The meta-analysis is the first on the relationship between immigration and crime. The reviewed studies most frequently found no relationship between immigration and crime. But among those that did find a correlation, it was 2.5 times more likely that immigration was linked to a reduction in crime than an increase.

  • GunsGun policy preferences across racial groups

    In the wake of recent mass shootings in Alexandria, Virginia, and elsewhere in the United States, a new study looks at factors that drive support for gun control among whites, Latinos, and blacks. The researchers found support for all forms of gun control is stronger among Latinos and blacks than whites. For example, 74 percent of blacks and 61 percent of Latinos, but only 55 percent of whites support an assault weapons ban.

  • GunsHow U.S. gun control compares to the rest of the world

    By John Donohue

    The shooting in Virginia that wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, as well as the shooting in a San Francisco UPS facility that left four dead on the very same day, have generated – yet again – the standard set of responses in the wake of a mass shooting in the United States. The details of any such tragedy often emerge slowly, but a few points can be made. While deaths from mass shootings are a relatively small part of the overall homicidal violence in America, they are particularly wrenching. The problem is worse in the United States than in most other industrialized nations. And it is getting worse.

  • Law enforcementCost savings of LA county crime reform initiative uncertain

    While a California ballot initiative reducing penalties for some criminal offenses promised to save local governments money, quantifying such savings will require significant changes in the way local agencies track workloads, according to a new report. The researchers concluded there was too little information available to create credible estimates of cost savings, despite there being evidence that many of the departments saw a drop in workloads.

  • RadicalizationGermany considering spying on children suspected of radicalization

    Germany is debating the question of whether the country’s intelligence and law-enforcement agencies should out under surveillance minors radicalized by extremist Muslim clerics. The law currently bars the country’s intelligence agencies to save any data on anyone under the age of 18 when the data was collected. Bavaria’s interior minister Joachim Herrmann said it is “divorced from reality” to argue that investigators should look the other way when they learn about a radicalized minor.

  • ExtremismWhite supremacists in U.S. inspired by ancient Nordic religion

    Inspired by an ancient heathen religion, known most commonly as Odinism, White supremacists carry out terrorist attacks on American soil. In at least six cases since 2001, professed Odinists have been declared guilty of plotting – or pulling off – domestic terrorism attacks. Today’s Odinists claim it is the only pure religion for white people, one not “mongrelized” by the Jewish prophet Jesus – thus making Odinism a perfect fit for a strain of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in America. “Now is a great time for Odinism because it fits into this historical narrative about European cultural greatness and a connection between whiteness and nationality,” says one expert.

  • Explosive detection K-9 teamsHelping explosive detection canine teams across the U.S.

    Dogs are uniquely suited to sniffing out explosives – their sense of smell is more than a million times stronger than a human’s. Harnessing this natural ability to help law enforcement identify explosives requires specialized training and testing. Many detection canine teams, however, have limited access to critical training materials and limited time to establish rigorous training scenarios. DHS S&T’s Detection Canine Program has developed an initiative to support these needs for the nation’s more than 4,000 explosives detection canine teams.

  • London attackHow can we better protect crowds from terrorism?

    By Robert R. Friedmann

    As the recent terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom painfully show, the odds are in favor of terrorists. All they have to do is succeed once, no matter how many times they try. For public safety professionals to be fully successful, they have to prevent 100 percent of the terror attempts. It’s a number to aspire to, but even the most experienced countries fighting terror – such as Israel and the U.K.– can’t measure up to this standard. These days, it’s necessary to consider any place where crowds congregate as vulnerable “soft targets” for the attackers. Community policing, though, could help. Community policing means using the community as a resource to minimize the spread of radical ideologies. By informing and supporting law enforcement through proactive partnerships, citizens can become key players and reliable partners in what some call “co-produced” public safety. These strategies won’t provide absolute security. But they will help minimize attacks and get us closer to that golden 100 percent standard.